Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies (Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free) + Respecting the process

IMG_3156 (640x427)When it comes to my self image, it is always a work in progress. You can read about what I wrote about self image, scales talk and food judgement in respective links. Over the past few months, I have more good days than bad. On those good days, I often am reminded by how far I have come and is respecting the process.

I accept that my body is mine and it is different. It has been through childhood obesity, and a fear of fitness. Some fears remain- I still struggle to participate in group sports games (although have actually attempted basketball and some form of soccer). I am the girl whose head just seem to attract any flying balls even when I am simply running OR standing minding my own business. I feel clumsy when I do any kind  of coordination exercises. I still cannot do a high box jump- not a lack of ability but my brain and my legs just can’t seem to communicate, and any technical work on weights takes me ages to master. I can hardly skip, and Asher will probably learn how to cycle before I do.  Heavy weights remain a challenge but I am getting better at it. IMG_3155 (640x427)

So with that into consideration, I’m doing ok. I do not have the toned arms that I envisioned myself having or the clear 6 pack (it’s just hiding). I feel soft some days and tougher on others. Like a dear friend once mentioned- me feeling crapped about myself or saying I feel soft or my tummy seems less firm may indicate other issues such as digestive or immunity rather than my immediate fear of “going backwards”. In reality, the core of the issue is that I have an underlying fear that I will return to my previous self in no time.IMG_3158 (640x427)

My fear is not unjustified. Look at this news article recently. I think healthy weight itself can be a mystery. For most, the formula isn’t too complicated. I took the “Low fat and just cardio like crazy” route and lost 32 kgs the first round. It wasn’t sustainable but I did it. Then, the 2nd time I did it, I took the “Nourish, eat well and just move smartly” method. Worked for me too. Still, with my experimentation of not weighing myself did result in some weight gain, I had to learn how to dial back food. 

The truth is, I may have to be careful for the rest of my life. However, I have embraced a few differences. I do not count calories anymore or keep a food diary. I try to eat well, and be kind to myself. The only “rules” I have is to always start with small bites, and avoid mainly gluten or refined sugar. If i do want to indulge in an extra coffee, I can. If I want to munch on a bliss ball, yes. I just stay away from processed food. I still cook most meals and move regularly. 

One thing I did note though, and with hubby’s observation..is that since I have started hitting my own goals on chin ups, pull ups, turkish get ups and doing double jb squats… I stand taller. I’m less self conscious. There is something about going against what I thought I could not do previously that helped. 

It will always be a journey of self. One that I’m learning not to rush it but respect the process. 

Oh, and enjoy this bickie with my coffee. It’s crumbier and easy. Yes it has some coconut sugar in it. But hey, it’s all relative. IMG_3154 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’135′] 

Advertisement

Guilt Free Time out + Powerhouse Pumpkin Slice (Paleo, Clean Eating, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free)

IMG_2740 (640x427)Earlier in the month, hubby and I spoke about our goals for this year. We dig deep and discussed having more time together as a couple. We discussed having individual time to ourselves. We spoke about our individual journey with God and needing to dive deeper spiritually. We chatted about family time and knowing when to say no- simplifying our routine. 

Time out individually, couple and as family can seem like an oxymoron. Truth me told, we need all 3. Individually and as a couple to strengthen our marriage but also to make us stronger as parents. When I asked hubby what would he like to see change. He replied “you to stress less”. That short sentence made me paused. At the bottom of my heart, I know why. When I’m less stressed, I give more. I see more and I do more. I’m kinder. I’m happier and I tend to be more present focused. IMG_2743 (640x427)

Yet on the other hand, I’m so conscious about us being an individualistic society that we need to see systemically what is required. My grandmother never had “time out” yet she had to manage. She just made do because that’s what she had to do. She did however, work closely with her large family and neighbours. She had a sense of humour. Her attitude was to do the best she can. She told me about liking what she does.

 The more we see that as a problem. The more we tend to feel guilty. IMG_2739 (640x427)

The thing is, time out is a term for re charging. Those days, my grandmother’s re charge was to have a cigarette. She was cranky as and she was “scary” in terms of her temper. She took panadols to deal with the pain. She had her bad days too but had to push on. She had to do what she needed to do. Looking back, I can see why she is strong but I can also see why her struggles to look after her body optimally lead to health issues. IMG_2740 (640x427)

My re charge? to do daily devotionals more regularly. To sit and read. To be ok with taking sick leave when I am sick. To have an occasional outing with friends. And if it all falls apart at times, it is to say that’s ok and just go with it! 

This powerhouse slice was invented in my kitchen when I was looking at an eggless but also less/no refined sugar alternative to bind a slice together. Often recipes call for a huge amount of rice malt/honey or brown sugar. I thought pumpkin might be an idea to add great carbs, but also a natural sweetness to it. This is more of a chewy slice rather than a crispy one. I think it is a powerhouse because it has great fats, good carbs and protein all in one. Best, it is easily portable for snacks. 

Oh, what will you be doing for Australia day tomorrow? We aren’t too sure yet, but it will definitely incorporate some family time together! 🙂

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY FOR TOMORROW! 

[yumprint-recipe id=’107′]

Poached Pears in Orange Juice

IMG_1016 (640x427)

Do you have days where you feel low? The physical and emotional energy seems to have drained from you? Recently I have days like this. I’m usually a person filled with energy and positivity. Occasionally, I feel lousy and wiry. I dislike feeling this way because I don’t identify myself with those emotions at all.

So I did a mental mind map (those will who I work with will call that a FIT tool) (pps- I just realised it can be a pun- FIT as in FIT for physical and emotional health). What could be some of the reasons?

– Perhaps I’m more tired physically. Asher’s molars are emerging and our sleep is a little …. less ideal. (and he isn’t a great sleeper to begin with!)

– Food. I have started eating more as I realised I have not been fuelling my body sufficiently. I have new physical goals to be stronger and I suspect food is holding me back. Now you would think eating more clean food will help me feel better but I believe it brought up some of my old insecurities about my self image.

– Weighing scale. I have stopped weighing myself. Ever since I won the challenge, I stopped counting calories and learned how to read my body on hunger cues. Now is my next step, not weighing myself a few times a week.

– Which brings me to the next point, self image. The above two points means I feel slightly out of control (I think). Which leads to those thoughts about feeling “heavier” or “I have gained weight since I’m eating more”.

– Work. I have added more hours to work, which also means a slight re adjustment to routine and schedules.

– At the gym, I’m trying to “upped the ante”, lifting more, snatching slightly heavier… and realising that my technique needs refinement. All well and good BUT it brought out another weakness of mine… impatience. The “not getting it” and “not being perfect” does stress me out!

– Sore- erm, ok. So i think i over did 1 hour of snatches the other day. My lats were not happy.

– I stopped soy milk as I have been reading many negative reports about soy and have moved back to dairy. While I can tolerate some amounts of dairy, I realised that it still makes me feel a little lousy and maybe even a little bloated.  I’m experimenting with the way I order my coffees and will go Almond or skim as much as possible.

– I have reduced my caffeine intake. Again, one of those things that I’m conscious that I may be over indulging and wanting to cut back a little. Since I’m not liking milk as much, it was also a natural reduction.

Ok, I can see why I feel this way now.

First world problems. 🙂

IMG_1014 (640x427)

So how am I tackling them?

1) Food/weight/body image- It’s a journey. I’m eating cleanly so I believe that it is the right move for my body to eat more than what I did previously. I still have not weigh myself and since I’m trying to be stronger at the gym, my body composition is likely to change. No change in my clothes either. So i’m guessing it’s mainly in my head. OR, my body composition in in the process of changing. I have to embrace the journey. IF not, I shall evaluate where I am in a few weeks time and decide what to do about it (whether to change my meals up a little more, or workouts).

2) Milk- continue to have almond milk or if it isn’t available, have a long mac instead.

3) Workouts- Practice and reflect on what I have accomplished while working on what I want to master. It’s ok to “Be in the process” and “Not get it”. I remembered being impatient post baby and needed to trust myself that what I’m doing is working. This is the same. I did not start out being able to do push ups. Same with lifting heavier or snatching better.

4) Focusing on the blessings. I have come a long way. I am in a good place to be able to experiment physical goals. What’s the worst that can happen? I can just re visit my goals/food and adjust accordingly if things are not working. So I have decided  to write down 5 gratitudes in my new journal every evening before bed (KATE SPADE baby! a gorgeous birthday gift).

5) Practising being kind to myself- all in my thoughts but I’m going to slow down and see the beauty in life. Practising being in the moment and appreciating my surrounds. Asher does not need a negative mumma!

6) I have scheduled in some rest and me time.

7) And I realised… IT’s OK TO BE FEELING LOW at times. We are humans. Feeling low does not indicate something is wrong. It could be a reflection of the many things that are happening at once.

😉

IMG_1013 (640x427)

I know we are in spring but I spotted some gorgeous beurre pears at the markets. Into the basket they went. At home, I poached these little babies with fresh oranges from … haha.. yes Manning Road Markets (just a tad obsess over them). They turned out gorgeous. Saturday evening when Asher is in bed, Hubby and I shared this and had a good chat. Just what I needed.

IMG_1016 (640x427)

Poached Beurre Pears in Orange Juice (serves 2)

1 pear  peeled, halved and cored.

1 orange juice and zest

1/2 cup of water

1 cinnamon quill

Place pear, juice, zest, water and cinnamon quill in a saucepan. Poach for around 25-30 minutes till tender. Serve with a sprinkle of coconut granola.

Salted Almond Butter Ice Cream

The other day, I came across this blog post. It struck a cord with me because from time to time, hubby and I discuss how our marriage changed since the arrival of Asher.  I’m a very lucky woman because I have the world’s best hubby in so many ways. He is a hands on daddy, in love with me and is absolutely supportive in my fitness, health, work, family and food goals.

That does not mean though that we do not struggle from time to time. Like most families, we can fall into a rut if we are not careful. Because of his early morning starts, more often than none, he gets easily tired. For me, I’m a perfectionist in some ways and like to make things “right”. With our focus on Asher, it’s easy to start the morning with a text message and we may not even have a decent chat till 2 days later!

With tiredness and busyness means we say things we do not mean (or think), we forget appointments and neglected to check in with one another. It comes in with impatience and annoyance. I felt unappreciated, and he felt unheard. It could easily spiral into a downward mess.

I’m writing this to remind myself that I’m very very lucky even though sometimes I don’t feel that way. Because counting my blessings makes me realise that the world is not bleak. My husband isn’t the world’s most unthoughtful person or mean. He is a human and humans can tire and make mistakes. So this is my list to remind myself.

1) He wakes up early every morning so that he can be with us earlier in the day
2) He brushes his teeth in the guest’s bathroom so he doesn’t wake us up.
3) He never complains with whatever I cook.
4) He plays with Asher every single day. He change his nappies when needed and feed him most dinners.
5) He budgets and make sure our household gets taken care of
6) He says “I love you” daily to me
7) I have been obese, skinny and pregnant and he stood by me
8) He stayed close to me when Granny was seriously ill and passed on.
9) He welcomed my family into our lives and even like them staying with us.
10) He adored my granny and attempted/learned cantonese with her.
11) Also attempted to speak mandarin to my dad
12) Taste and eat every single dish I made and bake AND gave me honest thoughts.
13) Never once did he complained about my gym schedule. He change his work schedule so I can head to the gym to have me time 4 times a week.
14) Totally embraced eating clean.
15) Does the laundry
16) Remembers rubbish and bin collection days
17) Trusts me completely with shopping and budgeting
18) Always on the lookout for cheap flights
19) Appears to know every city and transport system around the world.
20) Cooks me breakfasts occasionally
21) If I forget an ingredient in the midst of baking, he would go out and buy it straight away.
22) Often think about our future
23) Share our love for travelling
24) Endure my occasional need to “get it right!” (and then having to taste countless tarts, ice cream or roasts)
25) He is in love with Asher.
26) Some evenings, make me a cup of chai tea with warmed up almond milk.
27) Want to spend time with us. He doesn’t stay long for work functions or meet up with friends for a beer at night.
28) Always keep me updated on his work, what’s been bothering him or finances
29) Calms me down when I feel upset or panic.
30) Pray with me and for us.

I’m sure there are more and i’m sure I can add to it as time goes on.

So for my hubby, this salted almond butter ice cream is for you. (Just because I know how much you love ice cream!)

Salted Almond Butter Ice-Cream (serves 2)
2 frozen bananas
2 tablespoons of almond butter
pinch of salt

place everything in a food processor and blitz till it becomes ice cream! Drizzle with your favourite topping.

 photo MTWsignature_zpsaefba23f.png

Chocolate Vanilla Slice

I have my bad and good days. Some days, I really really miss my grandmother. Grief is a throbbing pain in your heart that doesn’t seem to go away. It becomes slightly duller but it aches. The image of her smiling face, the twinkle in her eyes and her old fashioned styled hair with heaps of hair spray stays with me.

Last year this time, there was so much excitement. I was heavily pregnant. My family was planning their big trip to stay with us for 12 weeks. An pending new arrival to the family brought a buzz. Who would have thought the past year would be filled with so many memories- both happy, troubled, happy and sad?

We are planning Asher’s first birthday and then it hit me that granny won’t be here physically to celebrate with us. I’m holding on though, to the memories of our family waking up together and looking forward to seeing Asher in those early days when he arrived. The laughs during his full month celebration and cooking lessons that grandmother gave me (yam cake and chill). The precious cuddles they shared.

Of course, we had our trips back where grandmother spent mornings and days seeing Asher play at my parents flat, or helped entertained Asher while I do a quick workout at the exercise park.

And the worrying times where Gran rebelled against death and came back from heart failure and her stint at ICU in February.

The sadder times when we lost her.

I was browsing photos of treats and bakes I made when this caught my eye again. This was made for a family gathering. At that lunch, we spoke about grandmother’s likes and dislikes, and how the whole family became closer together (extended family included) this year. That is what my grandmother would have love to know. She would have love to take an adventurous bite of these small chocolate vanilla slices and give me her two cents about how it’s not sweet enough, or it’s too hard, or that it’s “ok”.  But she would eat it with a smile anyway.

Chocolate Vanilla Slice (makes 24 mini ones) Adapted from Spunky Coconut.
Base
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 tablespoons of linseed meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup of almond butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of vanilla paste

“Vanilla”
1 cup of coconut butter
1/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tsp of vanilla paste

Chocolate Ganache
100 grams of dark chocolate
1/2 cup of coconut milk

Pre heat oven to 180C. Line a 8×8 square dish.

To make the base- mix the wet ingredients using a mixer. Then fold in dry ingredients. Press it to the pan and bake for 30 minutes or so. Cool.

To make the Vanilla- Mix everything in a mixer. Spread frosting over the base.

Chocolate Ganache- In a saucepan, melt chocolate in coconut milk. Pour ganache over the frosting. Fridge it over night.

Cut into small pieces and enjoy.

 photo MTWsignature_zpsaefba23f.png

Crispy Waffles with Berries Compote

People are often curious about what I do in my day. Given that I’m not working, there is an assumption that I’m the boss of my own time. To a certain extent, I like the freedom of being a little flexible. Tradesman needing to come to the house? Yup, I can arrange that. Parcel collection from the post isn’t in the too hard basket when I can pop to the shops during the day. Arranging a play date on a week day? That can be done.

There are certainly advantages of being at home.

There is a scene in Sarah Jessica Parker’s movie “I don’t know how she does it”– where she played a business woman, juggling between motherhood and career. At night, there is a list of things in her head that she would go through like the end credits of a movie.

I could totally identify with that.

If I am lucky:

7am: Asher and I wake
7-7:30am- Wash up, I change into my day clothes and put some make up on (note to self- if I don’t do it then, I find that I won’t have the chance to do it any time after), change his diaper, prepare breakfasts for both of us
8:15am- Clothes change for him
8:30am-10am- Play time for Asher and me. We read, sing songs, dance, play chasey, hide and seek, stretches, swimming lesson..etc. I might also ring my dad or someone overseas then. More than often, I would squeeze in some housework such as clearing breakfasts, prep work for dinner, tidying around the house, clear the dishwasher, head out to do some groceries with him……
10-11:30am- Milk time and Asher’s nap time. Now, this gets tricky. On a good day, he sleeps in his cot by himself. I have better luck on my bed with heaps of cushions and pillows. Lucky for us, our carpets are thick and I’m close by to make sure he doesn’t fall. Some days, he wants me to hold him. If that happens, I just enjoy cuddle time. I don’t give up putting him down though but he may need resettling. If he sleeps, I get to vacuum and mop the floor,  prep dinner, bake something, pack the bag, clean the toilets,
11:30am- He wakes. Has a drink of water. Plays by himself while I prepare lunch for him and myself.
12ish- Lunch time.
12:30-3pm- That depends. Could be gymbaroo, play dates, outing somewhere. I would squeeze in more housework like bringing clothes in, folding clothes, putting them away. Really try cooking dinner!
3-4ishpm- Milk time Nap time. Same deal above.
4ish- Light snack. If I have no chance to prepare dinner above, prepare dinner now!
5pm- Husband comes home!
Depending on which day- I’m off to the gym and arrives home at 6ish.
5-5:45pm- Asher and daddy goes out for a walk
6+pm- Dinner time for Asher.
7pm- Bath time or shower for Asher and hopefully for me too.
7:30pm- BED TIME for him. Dinner time for us.
8ish- bed time: Clean up the kitchen, have a chat with hubby about his day, read, blog, prepare for the next day. Write a list…

Fun begins then
Anytime between 10am- 7am: Asher might wake 2-3 times. He is getting better now and usually only wakes once a night at 3 or 4 am for a feed. Then he sleeps till 6 or 7am. Not bad hey! Previously, he would wake every 3-4 hours and require settling from us. Asher is also sleeping in his own room.

Notice that I have “prepare for dinner” a few times during the day? Well, I have to be flexible from time to time. There are days where I can’t get to dinner prep work till 4pm because Asher is clingy or feeling unwell, or we have been out the whole day. Other days, I might start making chinese slow cooked soup late morning. There are also commitments that I fit in like mothers group, play dates and errands.

On top of that, I’m in charge of Hubby’s breakfasts, Asher’s meals..etc and you guys know I like knowing what I put in my foods so I tend to make as many snack or meal from scratch. In our family, I’m usually in charge of organising presents, groceries list, food budgeting costs, social interactions and keeping in contact with extended family members.

One of the things I enjoy doing is arranging play dates with other mums. It’s so lovely to see the children play together. I noticed that Asher learns from other children. He observes them and later in the day, he would try the skill out. It’s also a chance for me to learn from other mums. Lovely since my immediate family is overseas.

I love it all though. I have my days where I go “what did I REALLY do the whole day?” and would come up blank. Other days, I feel productive and have baked like 2 items, cooked dinner AND manage to spend quality time with Asher and hubby. Oh and the house looked decently clean.

Other days, hubby comes home and dinner could be cooking, but the house is messy and I feel like screaming. Remember that I have no extended family help so we are mostly on our own. I can’t run out to the shops by himself or head to wherever I want whenever I want. I have to make sure it’s not Asher’s nap time, or clashes with hubby’s schedule or any other commitments we have. Looking at the list, it almost sounds SO simple but it is honestly a juggling act.

All fun and games right?

On a long weekend, or if hubby is working from home though, I try to put in extra effort to make us breakfasts. I made these waffles one morning and they are definitely a keeper.

Crispy Waffles with Berries Compote 
1 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup of arrowroot flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoons of coconut sugar
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of Almond milk
1 tsp of lemon juice.

Preheat waffle iron. Place almond meal, arrowroot, baking powder and coconut sugar in a bowl. Whisk all wet ingredients together and fold it into dry. Spoon into waffle iron and make waffles!

Meanwhile
1 cup of mixed berries
1 tsp of honey

Place everything in a saucepan and warm it up.

EAT a nice healthy breakfast. This has arrowroot which is a starch so this is not an everyday breakfast if you are watching your starch intake. However, we love it and will have it from time to time.

 photo MTWsignature_zpsaefba23f.png

French Toast with Shitake Mushrooms, Bacon and Maple Syrup

I do love a good breakfast. It sets the day up and makes us feel good. Hubby is more of a morning person than I am- but even so, I love the stillness of the day and how give little tell tales of what a fresh beginning looks like.

I wouldn’t call this a “everyday breakfast”. It was more of a brunch for us! Ever since I started to eat clean more frequently, we rarely have bread in the house. Pregnant though, does bring certain challenges and I find myself wanting more carbs than ever. Armed with a few additional slices of bread that is almost at the end of its life, I soaked it with some egg and panfried it.

I have had pancakes with bacon and maple syrup before and thought, hey, we could do a french toast version. My new found love for fresh shitake mushrooms is probably the most healthy ingredients in this dish! Nevertheless, the combination of french toast, grilled shitake mushrooms and a slice of bacon with a drizzle of maple syrup… it was yum!

This little bottle of maple syrup was bought near the markets at Brooklyn Bridge.

I said goodbye to my colleagues last friday. It probably would not be a permanent goodbye, but it invoked so many emotions in me. Sadness, relief, glad, anxiety…. It marks a change in my identity. I recall the first day of work, so full of excitement of what I can accomplish and learn and in my years of being in this organisation, I felt so blessed that I have been invited to into so many homes. Into many distraught families and in one way or another, I learned heaps from them as I work with them to have some clarity of what needs to be done next. On an organisation level, I’m walking away from beautiful colleagues who have a heart of gold and I am proud to be associated with them.

Work does not define me, yet it is part of who I am. As I settled into the idea of being a mum, and dare I say it…. a domestic goddess trainee, I know that the change will be good.

Plus, it gives me a chance to try out and cook up a different kind of storm in the kitchen.

French Toast with Shitake Mushrooms, Bacon and Maple Syrup (Serves 2-3)
2 pieces of bread
3 eggs
1/4 cup of almond milk
sprinkle of sugar
knob of butter

200 grams of shitake mushrooms
handful of chives
1 tsp of chopped garlic
1 knob of butter

2 slices of bacon- make it free range and grass fed
maple syrup

Whisk up eggs with almond milk and sugar. Soak bread into it. Heat pan up and melt butter. Sizzle bread on it.

Meanwhile, in another pan, sauté mushrooms with butter and garlic. Toss in chives. Set aside. Sizzle bacon on it.

Assemble french toast, mushrooms and bacon on it. Drizzle maple syrup. Dig in! You will be full for hours!

 photo MTWsignature_zpsaefba23f.png

Happy New Year!

The year 2010- another year full of memories and life lessons. I thought a good way to sum up the year is to have a look at the all those beautiful moments and capture them in a post.

Highlights:

  • Started the New Year in Paris (plus Pierre Hermes’ macarons)!

  • We survived one year of marriage!! Woohoo!
  • Attended and be part of the bridal party for my closest friends. 
  • Emcee for the first time at a dinner banquet for my best friend. 
  • We bought sand land and will be building our home in 2011.
  •  We had the BEST road trip from Adelaide to Melbourne.
  •  Headed to Sydney and tried Guylian Chocolate Cafe and saw the Blue Mountains. (although my tummy felt really ill after the chocolate, the pain was worth it!)

  •  And officially on 30th of Dec 2010, achieved a milestone in my career. A goal that I have been aiming for since year 2000 when I arrived in Australia. 

And my cooking and baking highlights? 


Goals for 2011:

  • To continue to make changes and improve the appearance and accessibility to content of this blog.
  • Try making curry!! (from scratch!!!)
  • Ice-cream making perhaps. 
  • Continue my quest to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. 
  • To create more beautiful memories with my family and friends.
  • Accelerating to our dreams. 
  • To live more, laugh louder and breathe deeper when challenges cross our paths. 
  • Looking forward to the building process of our new home. 
  • To be even more respectful and loving towards my hubby. 
  • A closer journey with God. 
Wherever you are, here is wishing you a FANTASTIC NEW YEAR.  May each step you take in the New Year bring you closer to your dreams.

Photobucket

Marriage and Gifts

I have been thinking of writing more thoughts about marriage- simply because I think that we experience and learn so much from it on a very day basis, and it will be a waste not to pen it down. Abit of it is humour, and abit of is just pure fun and frustration. Just to add a dash of sweetness and kindness to the mix as well.

Marriage is like a book of good recipes. You want to keep the good ones and learn from the mistakes/challenges. There is no such thing as a bad recipe isn’t? There is always something to learn from.

It’s funny. This blog has followed through on my journey in my studies all the way to us getting married. It has also followed through quite a few of my birthdays too. Since I was 21 actually. Which make it…. a decent amount of time!

Which brings me to my birthday that happened about a month ago. The day went really sweet. Hubby made me breakfast in bed, brought me a bunch of flowers and we had the most awesome Jap buffet dinner ever.

But he didn’t get me a birthday present.

He tried. He really tried very hard.He wanted to get me a car charger massager thing to help with my bad back while driving. Apparently it doesn’t deliver to Australia. And while that thought was sweet AND practical, I was actually thankful that he didn’t get me a gadget that may not work……

Then he tried looking for a bag, nothing that caught his fancy.(he bought me a beautiful Oroton bag last birthday! and a little clutch a few years back and it was the most successful gifts ever!)

He tried thinking outside of the box, he tried to ask me. But I joked around and said “Tiffany, or anything belonging to the apple range of products” (which I know it is out of our household budget at the moment. given that we are building and wanting to save those shiny new products for our new home). So that was out as well.

He tried to hint at getting a ice cream maker or hair straighter or something to that effect. I said we are only married for 17 months hon, not 17 years! Couldn’t you leave appliances out? So that was out of his list too. 

So I became the not so grateful wife who said no to any suggestion.. and ended up with..

no gift. 

Which surprisingly, I was quite ok about. In fact, I think he was more upset that he didn’t get me anything. I, on the other hand, didn’t put too much emphasis on it because he chose to spend the day with me and he respected me enough to give me what i want..which was…rest. 

But I got really nucky when he suggested using funds from my birthday gift to buy a coffee machine for the household… I was really really angry!

Which means I was fine with no gift, but not ok if the same funds are directed to elsewhere-no matter how practical it is.

My poor confused husband.

And I admit that even I think it looks confusing after re reading this post. But it is the principle isn’t it? He did get it in the end and I explained to him by saying…

“How would you feel if I saved up the money to buy you a brand new computer, but you didn’t want it so asked me to wait for a while until something interesting/new came up. So instead, I suggested taking the money and using it for a spa retreat. For myself. I will bring home a small bottle of vanilla massage oil for you”

He got it. ;P

No gifts aside. He got me this awesome durian cake. It’s not quite the same as the one my parents used to bring back for my grandmother’s birthday. But it will do..because it is in PERTH and beggars should not be fussy.

Country Women’s Association Cookbook- Seafood Cornflake Bake

 My colleagues and I-we are obsessed about food. There is something about food that brings different cultures together. It is also a stress-relief. It is a talking point of what to bring for our weekly morning tea (to sweeten our long meetings and calm our hungry tummies), or to discuss where can we find good value and fresh sushi (I can have it for lunch and dinner every day I think). Strangely, most of us are not even born in Australia.

I noticed a Country Women’s Association Cookbook lying around and asked my colleague what is this about? She replied that Country Women in Australia often needs to be creative in their cooking- given the time and lack of resources sometimes. Not to mention, good value for money. I like the sound of it already. I quickly flipped the pages and this recipe caught my attention-really, it’s the cornflake crust. I don’t have the “proper” recipe and chose to recreate it from memory. I think it is even called something else! But I can assure you that it features tuna in it and cornflakes. Doesn’t that combination sounds yucky?I can assure you that it turned out delicious!

Having a better understanding of the Country Women’s Association, I appreciate their recipes even more. For the past few weeks, I have been struggling with meals and time. You may have probably even read what I mentioned before- cooking a few meals in one setting to make sure we have something warm and fairly nutritious when I return home late at night. It’s starting to show and I even went through a period of time where I actually thought I lost my mojo in cooking and baking! Horror of all horrors!

I started to re-create some earlier recipes that I have blogged prior and reminded myself to be kind… to myself. That was why I started the blog, to show that meals can be quick and most of the time, healthy and low in fat and calories. It is OK not to have home cooked meals every day. It is OK not to re create something new every few days.

It is ok to be kind to myself 😉

Seafood Cornflake Bake (Serves 4-6) 

2 cans of tuna in spring water
150 grams of prawns shelled (I happened to have some prawns in the fridge)

2 tablespoon of spread
1 tablespoon of flour
1 cup of soy milk (I might have put around 1.5 cups)
1/2 of low fat cheese
around half a cup of corn flakes crumbs (u can buy them in a box!)
2 cups of frozen veges (I used peas and corn)

Melt spread. Add flour and cook till golden. Add milk and whisk till it thickens. Add cheese. Season. Add tuna, prawns and frozen veges. Spoon into a casserole dish. Top with corn flake crumbs. You can spray it with some oil to make it more crispy. Bake in a pre heated 200 C oven for 25 mins.